Inquests open into victims of Cumbrian shooting spree

Derrick Bird
Image caption Bird is said to have feared being jailed over a tax offence

Inquests into the deaths of 12 people killed by Cumbrian gunman Derrick Bird have been opened.

Six people remain in hospital after the taxi driver's rampage across the west of the county on Wednesday.

More than 1,500 people attended services commemorating the victims in Whitehaven and Seascale on Sunday.

The inquests were adjourned at Whitehaven Magistrates' Court, where west Cumbria coroner David Roberts also opened an inquest into Bird's death.

At the 15-minute hearing, attended by some of the victims' families, Mr Roberts confirmed that Bird died from "wounds from a firearm".

Post-mortem examinations were completed on the victims over the weekend, Cumbria Police said.

Derrick Bird's family have said they have no explanation for the killings, which included that of his twin brother David.

His sons Graeme and Jamie said: "We do not know why he committed these horrific crimes and we are both mortified by the sad events."

They described their father as "the nicest man you could ever meet".

Bird's surviving brother Bryan has also expressed his shock and dismay.

Image caption Mourners gathered at Whitehaven and Seascale for services

"The loss of both of my brothers is devastating. They were both very caring, family people," he said.

It is thought a simmering grudge against his twin brother David over money left by their late father sparked the mass killings.

After blasting his brother to death at his home, Bird went on to target others police believe he may have had feuds with in the past.

He killed family solicitor Kevin Commons and took shots at fellow cabbies outside the taxi rank in Whitehaven, claiming the life of Darren Rewcastle.

He then went on an hour-long rampage killing random passers-by using a shotgun and a .22 rifle fitted with a telescopic sight.

The other victims were Kenneth Fishburn, 71, Susan Hughes, 57, James Jackson, 67, Jennifer Jackson, 68, Isaac Dixon, 65, Michael Pike, 64, Jane Robinson, 66, Jamie Clark, 23, and Garry Purdham, 31.

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